Monday, July 14, 2008

beauty on the cheap: the aspirin mask

Gas prices are outrageous, food costs are on the rise, and the word "recession" is on everyone's mind. No kids, the economy's not doing so hot. So in the interest of saving a few bucks here and there, I present my first installment of Beauty on the Cheap. I'll be sharing some of my favorite budget-friendly drugstore products, as well as tried and true concoctions that you can make at home. To kick this series off, I thought I'd start with a classic. Ladies and gentlemen, the aspirin mask.

Whether your skin is oily or just needs a wake up call, an aspirin mask is a great, cheap way to brighten your complexion. Loaded with salicylic acid, the aspirin gets rid of excess oil, while promoting exfoliation, leaving your skin feeling clean, smooth and fresh. If you're in for the night or just want a quick pick-me-up before heading out, this fast and easy mask gives you great bang for your buck.

To make the mask, you'll need uncoated aspirin (I use the super cheap generic stuff from the drugstore), a mild liquid cleanser (I prefer Cetaphil), water, a spoon and somewhere flat to crush the aspirin and mix up the ingredients (I just use my soap dish). First, crush five or six tablets with the back of the spoon until you have a fine powder. Gradually mix in a few drops of water, until you achieve a thick, granular paste. The next step is optional. To improve the texture of the mask so that it spreads more easily and evenly, I add a dollop of liquid cleanser. Some people use honey for this step, but I prefer avoiding anything too sticky for this process.

Once the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, apply the mask to your face. Be sure not to rub this into your skin. Just spread it lightly over your face, avoiding sensitive spots such as the delicate eye area. I've heard a few people say that they get headaches if they inhale the aspirin, so I forgo applying this under my nostrils altogether. Let the mask sit for eight to ten minutes, then rinse with warm water. While washing off the mask, take advantage of the granular consistency for some extra exfoliation. Once you're completely rinsed, pat your face dry and follow up with your regular moisturizer.

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